This week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (you didn’t forget about the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, did you?) a team of European researchers will unveil a 4,000-transistor, 8-bit logic microprocessor with processing power equivalent to a simple silicon chip circa 1977. But this chip is different. This chip is flexible. The world’s first organic microprocessor is here.
Flexible, organic chips have long been on technology’s to-do list, but coaxing consistency out of organic transistors has been something of a chore. Organic transistors lack the monocrystalline structure of silicon, which makes their behavior somewhat unpredictable--each one can have a slightly different voltage threshold--an undesirable characteristic for a transistor to possess.